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Light Under A Bushel by Keith West

Another Fine Mess Press London 2022

Available from  £13.00 inc P&P

Painter Keith West Explores and Critiques British Conceptualism

Released: LONDON OCTOBER 31, 2021, “Light Under a Bushel” by Keith West; an analysis of British art education and ten year friendship with the late international art critic Barbara Reise. West a British painter was commissioned by the Tate Gallery Archive to write a memoir that examines Reise’s career and a personal account as an art student at a provincial art college in the 1960s. The 1960s saw the introduction of a new diploma by the Coldstream Committee designed to ‘give respectability to the study of art’ but the pursuit of respectability left the door ajar at Coventry College of Art through which a narrow interpretation of conceptual art soon distilled into rigid orthodoxy that was to influence the development of so called Brit Art. Going beyond the brief set by the Tate research was extended into the impact on several generations of graduates, many who left in frustration with the narrow orthodoxy that captured many art faculties. However, the chapter was excised from the original document in order to accession the Tate Archive in 2013.

Art historian and critic Brian Sewell, with whom West stared a decade-long correspondence, read an early manuscript, he commented: “You don’t know how important is what you have written, you must publish.” “Light Under a Bushel” reinstates the excised chapter.

West’s thesis is that British interpretation of conceptualism, what he labels “Burlesque-conceptualism”, goes against the human desire and necessity to understand pictures... the visual arts. More than that, we are doing a great disservice to generations of British artists and art students who are preoccupied with pictorial or figurative art. 

Kellyann Zuzulo                                                                                                                                                                                 Director of Communication  Em-Press Media                                                                                                                                   


Available now from major booksellers and on -line via ISBN 978-1-9168770-0-9


Thought I would tell you I hugely enjoyed your blockbuster and suggest you write a shorter version… a sort of pictures of how it all happened… catastrophes of the contemporary art world. You should publish… but Coventry… why Coventry? 


Brian Sewell 

25th May 2012


The importance of this book is not to be underestimated. It is a first-hand record of educational vandalism. Figurative painter Keith West deals with his education from the mid-60s onwards through Foundation and DipAD at Coventry when that college was run in almost sadistic and certainly selfish fashion by Art & Language and their ilk. Coventry was in the forefront of post-Coldstream anarchy.

Histories like West’s are so much more informative, direct and honest than sympathetic official versions. The second half of the book deals with the last 50myears in Contemporary Art. You will read West’s conclusions almost nowhere else. In China West would be exiled to the back of beyond for’ re-education’,. Here he will be simply ignored. I repeat; the importance of this book is not to be underestimated.


David Lee

Editor the Jackdaw Independent Art Magazine

Nov/Dec 2021

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